COVID Quarantine Rules Bring Down Number of Travelers Through Tel Aviv Airport

The Israel Airports Authority attributes the 50-percent drop to new restrictions, which require returning Israelis from almost every country to quarantine

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
People arriving in Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.
People arriving in Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.Credit: Hadas Parush

The number of daily travelers going through Ben-Gurion International Airport has decreased by 50 percent since the beginning of August.

According to the Israel Airports Authority, this sharp decline is a byproduct of new rules requiring quarantine upon return from most of the world's countries which went into effect Monday.

LISTEN: How German submarines are fueling Israel's anti-VAX movement

Figures from the government organization showed that in August so far the number of people flying every day out of Ben-Gurion, Israel’s main international airport, was half the number recorded in July. On July 22 and 25, for example, about 24,000 people flew daily to overseas destinations. On August 1, the figure fell to 16,000 and on Monday it was down to approximately 11,000.

The biggest declines were in travel to Greece – from 4,000 on July 22 to no more than a few hundred currently. The United States, which is the most popular destination for Israelis right now, is still seeing 2,000 to 3,000 outbound travelers per day. It appears flyers are less deterred by the quarantine because it is a more distant destination and people are planning longer visits there. Travelers don’t want to give up the tickets they bought, even if it means going into quarantine when they return to Israel.

The list of countries from which Israel requires returning travelers to quarantine has grown longer. The only countries now designated yellow – meaning they are relatively low risk – on Israel’s color-coded scale are Austria, Australia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Taiwan, Moldova, New Zealand, China, Singapore and the Czech Republic. Arrivals from these countries who are vaccinated need to quarantine for only 24 hours, or until they test negative for the coronavirus. The unvaccinated must undergo a full quarantine.

Among those countries, only Hungary, Moldava, the Czech Republic, and Austria don't require arriving Israelis to quarantine.

The moment that the new quarantine rules were issued, Israeli airlines El Al, Arkia and Israir have each added several weekly flights to destinations that don’t require a lengthy isolation.

On Monday, the list of red countries deemed high risk and are barred to all travel by Israelis, except in unusual cases approved by a government committee, contained Bulgaria, Brazil, Georgia, Mexico, Spain and Turkey.

The Israeli Health Ministry’s orange list, which includes all those countries in neither the yellow nor red categories, requires returning travelers to fully quarantine, including people who have been vaccinated or recovered from the coronavirus, no matter what their age.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:


Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage